Page images

He can requite thee, for he knows the charms
That call fame on fuch gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and feas,
Whatever clime the fun's bright circle warms.
ift not thy fpear against the Mufes bow'r:
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple' and tow'r

< at all of this matter, for if I have "not all this while won you to "this, I have certainly wearied "you of it. This therefore alone "may be a fufficient reafon for me "to keep me as I am. left having "thus tired you fingly, I fhould "deal worfe with a whole congre"gation, and spoil all the patience "of a parish: for I myself do not "only fee my own tedioufness, but now grow offended with it, that " has hinder'd me thus long from "coming to the last and best pe"riod of my letter, and that which "must now chiefly work my par“don, that I am

Your true and unfeigned friend."

* To this fonnet we have prefixed the title, which the author himself has in the Manufcript. In the Manufcript this fonnet was written by another hand, and had this title On his door when the City expelled an affault: but this he fcratched out, and wrote with his own hand When the afault was inVo L. II.




tended to the City. The date was alfo added 1642, but blotted out again and it was in November 1642 that the King marched with his army as near as Brentford, and put the city in great confternation. Milton was then in his 34th year.

3. If deed of bonor did thee ever in the fecond edition in the year pleafe,] So this verse is printed 1673. In the first edition of 1645, and in the Manuscript it ftands thus,

If ever deed of honor did the please.

[blocks in formation]

Went to the ground: And the repeated air
Of fad Electra's poet had the pow'r

To fave th' Athenian walls from ruin bare.


To a virtuous young Lady.

Lady that in the prime of earliest youth

and the green,

Wisely haft fhunn'd the broad way
And with those few art eminently feen,
That labor up the hill of heav'nly truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth

Chofen thou haft; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,

12. - And the repeated air &c] I fuppofe this refers to a paffage in Plutarch's Life of Lyfander. When that general had taken Athens, he propofed to change the government. Some fay he moved in council that the Athenians might be reduced to flavery, when at the fame time Erianthus the Theban propofed wholly to deftroy the city, and leave the country defolate: but a little afterwards at an entertainment of the captains, one of them repeated fome verfes out of Euripides's Electra, beginning 'thus,

Electra, Oh unhappy queen,
Whither wou'd you fly ? return;

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

No anger find in thee, but pity' and ruth. Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends

To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light,


And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feaftful friends Paffes to blifs at the mid hour of night, Haft gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wife and pure. X.

*To the Lady Margaret Ley.

Daughter to that good Earl, once President
Of England's Council, and her Treasury,,
Who liv'd in both, unftain'd with gold or fee,

7018785 avdegs peproav aveλev naι - Sispyaσaodai The worn. Vol. 1. P. 441. Edit. Paris. 1624.

5.-with Mary and with Ruth] So it is in Milton's Manufcript, and in the edition of 1673. In the first edition of 1645 it was falfly printed

with Mary and the Ruth. 7. And at thy growing virtues] In the Manufcript it was at first,

And at thy blooming virtue or

8. but pity and ruth.] Here Ruth and ruth are made to rime to each other, and it may perhaps offend the nicenefs of modern ears

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

And left them both, more in himself content,

Till fad the breaking of that Parlament

Broke him, as that dishoneft victory

At Charonea, fatal to liberty,

Kill'd with report that old man eloquent.

Though later born than to have known the days
Wherein father florish'd, yet by you,


Madam, methinks I fee him living yet;
So well your words his noble virtues praise,
That all both judge you to relate them true,
And to poffefs them, honor'd Margaret.

Lady Margaret Ley. She was the daughter of Sir James Ley, whofe fingular learning and abilities raised him through all the great pofts of the the law, till he came to be made Earl of Marlborough, and Lord High Treasurer, and Lord Prefident of the Council to King James I. He died in an advanc'd age, and Milton attributes his death to the breaking of the parlament; and it is true that the parlament was diffolved the 10th of March 1628-9, and he died on ⚫ the 14th of the fame month. He left feveral fons and daughters; and the Lady Margaret was married to Captain Höbion of the Ile of Wight. It appears from the accounts of Milton's life, that in the year 1643 he ufcd frequently




to vifit this lady and her husband, and about that time we may fuppofe that this fonnet was compos'd.

6. as that difboneft viery &c] This victory was gain'd by Philip of Macedon over the Athenians and their allies; and the news being brought to Athens, that old man eloquent, Ifocrates, who was near a hundred years old, died within a few days, being determin'd not to furvive the li berties of his country. - £TEλώτα τον βιον επι Χαιρωνίδα τρ χονίσ, ολιγαις ἡμέραις ὑςερον της εν Χαιρωνεια μάχης, δυσ Szorla Bebianas EnRTOV ETM, YPGμn xpno auC, aμa Tols ayaθος της πόλεως συγκαταλυσαι τον


* On the detraction which followed upon my writing certain treatises.

A book was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon,
And woven close, both matter, form and stile;
The subject new: it walk'd the town a while,
Numb'ring good intellects; now feldom por❜d on.
Cries the stall-reader, Blefs us! what a word on 5
A title page is this! and fome in file

Stand fpelling false, while one might walk to Mile-
End Green, Why is it harder Sirs than Gordon,

ἑαυτό βιου.
Dionyfius Halicar-
naff. de Ifocrate Vol. 2. p. 150.
Edit. Hudfon. Plutarch fays that
he abftain'd from food for four
days, and fo put a period to his
life, having liv'd 98, or as fome
fay 100 years. See Plutarch's Lives
of the ten Orators. Vol. z. p. 837.
Edit. Paris. 1624.

* When Milton publish'd his books of Divorce, he was greatly condemn'd by the Presbyterian 4 clergy, whofe advocate and champion he had been before. He publish'd his Tetrachordon or Expofitions upon the four chief places in Scripture, which treat of marriage or nullities in marriage, in 1645; and foon after we may fuppofe he compofed these two

fonnets, which were firft printed in the edition of 1673, and to which we have prefixed the title that he himself has in the Manufcript.

1. A book was writ of late &c] In the Manufcript he had written at first,

I writ a book of late call'd Te-
And weav'd in clofe, both mat-
ter, form and ftile;

It went off well about the town
a while,
Numb'ring good wits, but now
is feldom por❜d on.

[blocks in formation]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »